Published: July 3, 2006
Charting the way as the top lot at the recent sale of Millea Bros., was a signed oil painting by Agathe (Rostel) Roestel (German, 1866-1920), of a young boy on a country dirt road blowing a horn perilously close to three young girls. Given the earth tones and cool colors, this childhood genre painting may have had a somber, unsettling effect on bidders which would account for why this oil, large in both physical size, 45 1/2 by 57 inches, and psychological impact, started at $15,000 and quickly escalated to $72,450 to a phone bidder in Europe.
In a postsale interview Michael Millea, speaking for both himself and his business partner and brother Mark Millea noted, “We believe that this is a record set for this artist.”
Commenting on the sale overall Michael added, “We’re incredibly pleased with the results. We do our best to find fresh, quality estate goods, but in the end, it is our buyers who made the sale such a success.”
And there was certainly a plenitude of buyers for the Millea brothers to thank for topping the $1 million mark at this one-day, 539-lot event. Competing against the gallery were 1,680 eBay bidders from 38 countries and close to 850 absentee and phone bidders with oversees calls made to Spain, England and Italy.
Unlike the top lot of the sale, there certainly wasn’tanything somber or unsettling about a Spanish painting by LuisAlvarez Catala (1836-1901). Titled “The Costume Ball,” the artistdoes not focus on the ball itself, but rather the bustling activityinside an opulently furnished, rococo-style dressing room beforethe big event. With eight phone lines, the floor and the Internetall participating, it sold as life reflecting art amid a flurry ofactivity, for $34,500.
Believed to reflect a fable, it was no tall-tale that an oil painting of a woman with a mirror rising from a well, by Jules Arsene Garnier (French, 1847-1889) brought $25,875. A pastel of a woman with a yellow bonnet in hand, attributed to Camille Pissarro (French, 1830-1903), also garnered the attention of patrons.
At 24 1/2 by 15 3/4 inches, it opened with a bid of $4,000 and sold to a phone bidder for $36,800. Selling for $13,800 to a floor bidder was an oil by the French artist Timoleon Marie Lobrichon (1831-1914) that showcased a destitute mother with her children.
Landscapes, seascapes and more also won favor with buyers. An oil on canvas of “North Conway, White Mountains,” attributed to George Inness (American, 1825-1894), sold for $10,350. After Joachin Sorolla y Bastida (Spanish, 1863-1923), was a signed painting of a Mediterranean bay scene that sold for $34,500.
Another Spanish work, this one an untitled mixed-mediapainting by Modest Cuixart (born 1925) went for $23,000. Pricesrealized were strong right up to the end of the sale. With onlyfive lots to go a Twentieth Century mixed-media on panel titled”No. 3″ by the Japanese artist Toshio Yoshida crossed the block andsold for $12,075.
Art, in the form of a bronze bust, also yielded strong results. After Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux a 27-by-21-inch bust, signed and dated 1874 and impressed “Propriété Carpeaux,” was another crowd pleaser. With five phone lines competing for ownership, it opened with a bid of $6,250 and became “Propriété Floor Bidder,” at $34,500.
It was music to the ears of the consignor of a Steinway & Sons (model-L) grand piano. A floor and phone bidder battled it out for this circa 1949 instrument which was in impeccable condition. In the end the phone bidder was victorious at $35,650. At $6,037 an absentee bidder successfully acquired a John Muzzio & Son, New York, 38 key barrel organ.
A local piece of America history also crossed the block during this sale. It was a rare American mahogany tall case clock by Lebbeus Dod (1739-1816) from Mendham, N.J. Made for Dr Ebenezer Blatchley, a founding member of the New Jersey Medical Society, the prognosis was good as it opened with a bid of $6,500 and sold for $14,950 to a buyer on the floor.
Tiffany, Russian and George III silver all found new homes. At approximately 330 ounces, a six-piece, monogrammed, tea and coffee service by Tiffany & Co., sold for $14,375. Bringing $12,650 was a Russian silver eight-piece serving set comprised of a large Kovsh, six Kovshes and a ladle.
With maker’s marks attributed to Patrick Robertson, was acirca 1849 Victorian silver hot water urn. At approximately 100ounces, this Edinburgh piece sold for $6,612. A circa 1810, GeorgeIII silver-gilt serving dish, with maker’s marks attributed toThomas Daniel, left the hall at $4,715.
Not only did this sale end on a strong note with a $12,075 Yoshida painting, but right from the start, with lot number six, a pair of $4,830 Chinese Export porcelain vases (mounted as lamps), set the tone as four-figure sales seemed to be the norm, not the exception, of the day. It was fitting that a Japanese box, said to have belonged to Charles DeGaulle, also sold during the Oriental portion of this sale. This engraved brass and gold lacquered piece made $6,037. The top lot in this arena was an antique Chinese formal court robe in red silk, with a crane decoration, that sold to a phone bidder for $9,775.
Other highlights included a Tiffany Studios gilt-bronze desk lamp (No. 643) which sold to a phone bidder for $8,337. Selling for $7,475 was a hand colored map by Jan Jansson. For $9,487 an Internet bidder acquired an oil of a Pilgrim meeting an Indian chief which was attributed to Karl Bodmer (Swiss American, 1809-1893). A Cartier 18K gold Art Deco table clock realized $5,750. Selling for $10,062 was an unsigned, Nineteenth Century, British School oil portrait of a young girl with a book.
Prices reported include a 15 percent buyer’s premium. For information 973-377-1500, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.milleabros.com.
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